Ton Van Bergeyk: Famous Fingerpicking Guitar Solos From the Golden Era of American Pop Music (2010)
Van Bergeyk, a byproduct of the fertile British folk guitar movement, has an appealing finger-style method that features a precise bass line and nimble counterpoint in the upper register. His playing has a bounce and joie de vivre to it that shows he has absorbed the feel of ragtime guitar and completely mastered the art of syncopation. Along with that, Van Bergeyk is the Fats Wallerof the guitar, one who is able to take the most trivial of material and turn it into a musical gem.
The title of this Van Bergeyk record (one of two currently available) promises songs from the golden age of American pop music, but he may have a different definition of what the golden age is than most people, or at least has decided that there are some other songs he'd rather tackle than Gershwin and Porter. He pursues a selection of rags and novelty tunes (many transcribed from the original sheet music or the recordings of Fred Van Eps). All of them are wonderfully catchy and exuberant, from the spirited "Mustard Swing" and European stylings of "Zither Melodies," to the vaguely Carribean "Coconut Dance." All demonstrate the enthusiasm seen in Van Bergeyk's smile in the liner notes; this is a guy who plays music because he loves the expression it gives him.
Van Bergeyk makes the most finger-busting passages seem effortless, and if you doubt it, try playing the songs yourself. All but one are included in tablature as PDF files as part of the packages. If you're a guitarist, there's no doubt you'll want to give them a try. If you're merely a listener, you'll at least enjoy the guitar stylings of a guy who never really got his due.
Track Listing: Junk Man Rag; Mustard Swing; Zither Melodies; From Soup To Nuts; Kansas City Stomp; Rondo Caprice; Ragtime Medley: Bantam Step & Springtime Rag; Notoriety Rag; Medley: If I Had You & Moonlight Serenade; Jazz Me Blues; Divertisement; Georgia Grind; Coconut Dance; Florida Rag.
Personnel: Ton Van Bergeyk: guitar.
Record Label: Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop
Style: Beyond Jazz